Tag Archives: romantic comedy

Miranda Writes 20 – THE BIG TITLE REVEAL!

Drumroll please… I am SO excited to finally be able to share with you the title for Book 6 at last!

The book is actually all written and edited as I’m just over a week and a half away from welcoming Bump into the world and I can’t wait for you to read it. To celebrate the title reveal, I’ve made a little trailer vlog that gives you some sneaky details of what Book 6 is about. Hope you enjoy it – and let me know what you think! xx

Miranda Writes 20 – Plotting Book 6

All this year, I am keeping a video diary about writing and publishing my sixth novel and following the success of my fifth book, Take A Look At Me Now. This week, I reveal the latest #getinvolved winner and talk about plotting Book 6…

Writing Pic

I was asked this week about how I plot my books by Catriona Merryweather from Fabulous Book Fiend. It’s a very interesting question, not least because for book six I’m trying something new. I’ll reveal all in the vlog…

Also, did your suggestion for the name of a kooky Brooklyn craft store make it into Book 6? Keep watching to find out!

Remember that I love answering your questions, so what would you like me to answer for next week’s vlog? Post a comment below or email me at mirandawurdy@gmail.com

Enjoy!

p.s. This week’s YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, ‘Spider Hand!’

Miranda Writes 19 – Awesome news!

All this year, I am keeping a video diary about writing and publishing my fifth novel, Take A Look At Me Now. This week I share some AMAZING news about the book – and reveal the first winner of my #getinvolved competitions for Book 6…

Me with TALAMN bookIt’s been a complete rollercoaster of a year but the last couple of weeks have been phenomenally exciting. This week, I received some completely wonderful news: Take A Look At Me Now has made it to NUMBER FOUR in The Sunday Times Bestsellers! It’s my highest ever placing and I’m completely over the moon! (You’ll see how happy I am on the vlog…)

Also this week, I’ll announce the winner of my first #getinvolved competition for Book 6, which I’m writing right now. Did your suggestion win? Watch the vlog to find out! And to complete the goodies in this week’s vlog, I’m answering two questions sent in by lovely Kev from I Heart… Chick Lit. If you would like me to answer your question in next week’s vlog, leave a comment below or email it to: mirandawurdy@gmail.com.

Enjoy!

p.s. This week’s YouTube-nominated freeze frame is entitled ‘Say awwww’…

Take A Look At Me Now – Five San Francisco Surprises

All this week, I’m posting tempting tidbits for my fifth novel, Take A Look At Me Now, which is published this Thursday (24th October). Today, find out five things about San Francisco that surprised me…

GG 1

1. How relentlessly positive everyone is… It takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re a typically cynical Brit. But I promise you, within a day you’ll be walking around with a great big loony grin on your face, just like Bob and I did. It’s amazing to be in a city where everyone believes anything is possible. It rubs off on you and you go home believing better things are on their way. That’s why San Francisco is the perfect place for Nell to rediscover her secret dream – and more determined to see it through when she returns to England.

2. How much music is a part of the city… It’s everywhere. In bars and restaurants, outside shops and on every street corner. Reggae, jazz, classical, rock, indie, blues – you name it, you’ll hear it. I loved that wherever Bob and I went we were surrounded by music.

3. How comparatively small the city is and easy to explore… Bob and I visited for six days and walked to most places from our hotel just up from Union Square. Minutes from there took us to Chinatown – which was like stepping into another world; take a right and you’re five minutes away from the Financial District with the famous TransAmerica Pyramid; five more minutes and we were at the Embarcadero, looking our across San Francisco Bay to the gorgeous Bay Bridge. When we weren’t walking, we were clinging to the side of wooden cable cars, riding the Muni trolley-buses and catching vintage trams on the F-Line along the shores of the San Francisco Bay.

4. How quickly you feel like a local… It takes a day or so to acclimatise, where everything from crossing the street to tipping in cafes and restaurants to the surprising automatic flushes of public toilets initially feels like you’ve landed on another planet. But then you suddenly realise you’ve been hopping on and off buses, buying things in shops and chatting with strangers as if you’ve lived in the city forever.

 5. How beautiful the Bay is… You know it’s going to be lovely. You’ve seen the pictures and heard people waxing lyrical about it. But when you’re there and you see it for real, it takes your breath away. At the end of every day we spent in San Francisco, somehow Bob and I always ended up gazing out across the Bay with the Golden Gate Bridge on the left, the dark shadow of Alcatraz Island in the middle and the Bay Bridge to the right. Magical!

Oh – and an extra bonus thing:

 6. That everywhere sells great coffee. Annie Legado (owner of Annie’s Dinner in Haight Ashbury – you’ll meet her in the book) would be proud:
‘Bottom line: there’s always coffee’

p.s You can pre-order Take A Look At Me Now at KoboKindleWaterstonesThe Book Depository and Amazon in both ebook and a truly stunning paperback (glitzy gold sparkles and a soft-touch cover!)

Take A Look At Me Now – EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT!

As promised, following a website erroneously offering a free download excerpt of Take A Look At Me Now, here is an official, EXCLUSIVE first-look from my new novel, out this Thursday!

Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinso

This is the scene when Nell arrives in San Francisco, after being made unexpectedly redundant and deciding to blow her redundancy cheque on a trip of a lifetime to visit her cousin Lizzie in the City By The Bay. Hope you enjoy it! xx

Excerpt from Take A Look At Me Now ©Miranda Dickinson 2013. May NOT be reproduced without permission of Miranda Dickinson and AVON (HarperCollins).

‘First time in San Francisco, Ma’am?’ the huge Immigration officer asked, his politeness at odds with the fact that he looked as if he could quite easily snap my neck like a pencil if he wanted to.

‘Yes it is.’

He held up my passport, dark eyes beneath his thickset brow flicking between my face and my totally embarrassing passport photo. Just as the scrutiny was beginning to verge on uncomfortable, he handed it back. ‘Thank you. Enjoy your trip.’

As heartfelt sentiments go, this wasn’t a contender for welcome of the year, but I smiled my thanks and scurried away in case the neck-snapping option began to appeal to him.

Even though I was surrounded by my fellow passengers from England and France, the moment I walked into the baggage hall I knew I was in America. The noise in the cavernous hangar was distinctive in tone, the phrases on the overhead signs a little dissimilar to those at Heathrow or Paris Charles de Gaulle – even the atmosphere of the admittedly impersonal surroundings seemed different.

Emerging from the long tunnel-like walkway into the blast of noise, light and activity, I struggled momentarily to gain my bearings. Scanning along the selection of name signs being held by the barriers, I spotted Lizzie, grinning like a Cheshire Cat on happy gas and brandishing a sheet of card framed in what looked like a cerise feather boa, my name artfully spelled out in multicoloured glitter-glue and sequins. I was struck by how beautifully relaxed she looked. Her wavy blonde hair was loosely pinned up, her sunglasses tucked into it at the crown of her head, and her tanned skin glowed against the loose white blouse and pale blue shorts she wore.

‘Nellie!’ she yelled, ducking underneath the stretched elastic barrier, shedding bright pink feathers as she went.

‘Hi!’

I was hit with the full force of my cousin’s embrace as she nearly rugby-tackled me to the shiny-tiled airport floor.

‘I’m so glad you’re here! How are you? How was the flight? Are you hungry? I bet you’re hungry. Well we’re catching a cab home so we can pretty much stop anywhere. You just tell me what you fancy and we’ll find it. This is San Francisco, after all. Coffee! I bet you need coffee. Your first shot of American Joe is always special, trust me . . .’ She paused long enough to draw breath and gave me a rueful smile. ‘I’m talking too much, aren’t I?’

I had to laugh. ‘Um . . .’

‘Oh I’m sorry. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so excited, so I had my first coffee at five a.m. Consequently, I’m buzzing a bit. So – welcome to San Francisco!’

I laughed. ‘Thank you. Nice sign, by the way.’

‘It’s a bit showbiz, isn’t it?’ Lizzie giggled and shook the sign, sending a small cloud of glitter and stray feathers fluttering to the floor. ‘I told the kids at the after-school club I run about you and they wanted to help. I’ll have you know this is a unique, one-of-a-kind welcome sign.’

‘Well, I’m honoured.’

‘You’ll have to come and meet the kids while you’re here. They’re so excited to meet “another English”. You’ll feel like a celebrity.’ Lizzie took my suitcase and we walked through the terminal building towards the exit. ‘Now, we can do whatever you like. I’d recommend not sleeping yet, to lessen the chance of jetlag beating you up. That flight used to slay me every time.’

I was tired – the kind of weariness you feel aching in the very marrow of your bones – but I was also suddenly ravenously hungry. And, like a kid in the early hours of Christmas morning, I was determined not to miss a second of the day that lay ahead. Sleep could wait: I had a brand new city to meet.

Our cab driver, a portly Greek man in his early fifties, introduced himself as Apollo as we pulled away from the airport terminal and joined the lines of traffic heading onto the freeway.

‘Your first time in San Fran? You’ll love it, lady! I been here sixteen years this fall, and it’s the best place I ever lived. Bar none. I make my home here, I meet my wife here, I raise my kids here. It’s a special place.’

His dark eyes twinkled as he looked in the rear view mirror at Lizzie and I in the back seat. I smiled back, overwhelmed by the feeling of being at home, despite being a thousand miles away from it.

Warm Californian sun flooded into the car and even though my sudden entry into the middle of the morning in a brand new country had left my brain a little befuddled, the scenery whizzing past the windows was enough to grab my attention. Tall hills rose in the far distance, blue skies arced overhead and everything seemed to catch the sun.

‘I can’t believe you’re here,’ Lizzie said, linking her arm through mine. ‘It’s just so good to see you.’

‘You too. It’s been too long.’

‘It has. But we have eight whole weeks to make up for lost time, so let’s make the most of it. Now, I’ve taken a week off from my piano students, so I can show you around.’

‘That’s really kind – but are you sure? I know holidays are like gold dust over here.’

My cousin dismissed my concern. ‘It will be my pleasure.’ Her smile faded a little and she took both my hands in hers. ‘Now, honestly, tell me how you are. Losing your job must have been dreadful.’

‘I don’t know how I am,’ I answered truthfully. ‘It hurt me that they didn’t want me any more but I think I channelled my anger into action to get here. It’s going to take some time for me to work through it.’

‘Take all the time you need, it’s a huge thing to deal with.’ Lizzie squeezed my hands. ‘Have you thought about what you want to do while you’re here?’

‘A little. But I’m up for almost anything. Any sugges- tions will be gratefully received.’

Lizzie observed me, a sly grin appearing. ‘That is not the Nell Sullivan I knew. You were always Miss Five- Year Plan, even when we were growing up. What’s changed?’

‘My five-year plan has. Which had actually become a six-year plan, without me realising. And then became a defunct plan. Up until last week I let it guide my decisions, but now it’s been taken away I don’t have to stick to the programme any longer. I just want to know what it feels like to have no plan – to step out into my life and see what happens.’

‘Amazing.’ Lizzie stared at me as if seeing her cousin for the first time. ‘And what happens if it isn’t what you want?’

I shrugged, loving the rush of positivity I felt. ‘Then two months isn’t a long time to stick it out before I go home and pick up where I left off.’

‘You go for it, glikia mu,’ Apollo interjected. ‘You only get one chance to live your life. What’s the worst that can happen, eh?’

‘Thanks, Apollo,’ I replied, as Lizzie buried her face in her neck-scarf to stifle her giggles. ‘I’ll remember that.’

‘All’s part of the service.’ His super-white smile rivalled the Californian sun for brightness as it flashed at me in the rear view mirror.

Then, suddenly, the glittering cityscape of San Francisco appeared on the horizon and I lost my breath.

San Fran from the Bay

‘Oh wow . . .’

Lizzie smiled and squeezed my shoulder as I sat upright, drinking in the sight. ‘There she is. Gorgeous, eh?’

‘It’s beautiful. I had no idea.’

‘I told you it’s a special place,’ Apollo grinned over his shoulder, before launching into his own commentary on the sights passing by. The pride he had in his adopted city was infectious and soon Lizzie and I were both nodding along to everything he told us as we began to pass through downtown San Francisco streets that appeared to have come straight out of a film.

We turned a corner into a wide street lined with kooky Victorian houses beneath which were a variety of busi- nesses. The street was lined with trees and every shop sign was hand-painted. Elaborately chalked A-boards promised everything from t-shirts, ice cream and herbal teas to vintage records and books, while bright awnings hung over gaudily coloured shop window displays filled with vintage clothing, hand-crafted items and candles, next to restaurants and bars that spilled out onto the broad sidewalk.

‘Welcome to Haight-Ashbury,’ Lizzie grinned. ‘Your home for the next eight weeks!’

Lizzie's 1

The taxi came to a halt outside a three-storey building with two floors of hexagonal-shaped windows above a New Age clothing and music store, which wrapped around the corner of Haight Street and Cole Street. At one side was an enormous rainbow mosaic, which covered the wall to the next shop further up Cole Street, and a large tree on the sidewalk shaded the entrance to the shop. In the far end of the rainbow mosaic was a door covered in a hand-painted mural to look like acacia blossoms climbing over a dark green brick wall.

Lizzie turned and smiled at me. ‘Here we are.’

We paid Apollo and I thanked him as he unloaded my suitcase from the boot.

‘You have a great time,’ he grinned.

‘I will, thank you.’

Lizzie laughed as we walked up two flights of stairs to her apartment on the top floor. ‘You’ll certainly meet a lot of characters like Apollo while you’re here.’ She opened her front door and ushered me inside. ‘Here it is – home sweet home…’

Excerpt from Take A Look At Me Now ©Miranda Dickinson 2013. May not be reproduced without permission of Miranda Dickinson and AVON (HarperCollins).

And the winners of the New Rose Prize 2013 are…

This year’s New Rose Prize saw entries across five categories: Literary, Crime, Young Adult, Romantic Comedy and First Chapter. And, after much deliberation, the judges have made their decision…

070e8-nrp2013

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who entered for sharing their work with us. It is no mean feat to put your work ‘out there’, but we appreciate the effort and bravery of all our entrants this year. Secondly, a massive thank you to our wonderful judging panel: Jamie Guiney, Mel Sherratt, Tamsyn Murray (and me!)

So, without further ado, here are the winners of the New Rose Prize 2013:

The LITERARY New Rose Prize 2013 winner is… 100 QUESTIONS by Josefine Ejebjork

The CRIME New Rose Prize 2013 winner is… THE ENCOUNTER by Holly Foster

The YA New Rose Prize 2013 winner is… COUNSELOR IN TRAINING by Lisa Bambrick

The ROMANTIC COMEDY New Rose Prize 2013 winner is… FROM BEHIND THE FRUIT MACHINE IN PURPLE HEELS by Emma Dellow

and, finally…

The FIRST CHAPTER New Rose Prize 2013 winner is… FLOORED by Katie Marsh

A massive congratulations to all our winners, who I will be contacting in the next week with details of their prizes. I will publish their winning entries on my Coffee and Roses blog next week.

Miranda Writes 17 – Characters, books and BUMP!

All this year, I am keeping a video diary about writing and publishing my fifth novel, Take A Look At Me Now. This week, as P-Day creeps nearer, I share some exciting news about book launches and YOUR chance to star in a promotional video, plus answer your lovely questions…

Most of you will know by now that Bob and I are over the moon to be expecting our first child in March next year. Consequently, this is Bump’s official vlog debut!

I also answer your questions on how to build a picture of your characters, my favourite characters and what I loved most about writing Take A Look At Me Now.

So, without further ado, here’s the vlog! If you have a question for next week’s vlog, leave a comment below or email me: mirandawurdy@gmail.com. Enjoy! xx

p.s. This week’s YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, ‘Ta-daaaah!’

Enter The New Rose Prize 2013 NOW!

The New Rose Prize 2013 is officially OPEN for entries!

I am thrilled to announce that the competition for unpublished writers is now open and looking for entries in the following categories:

The New Rose Crime Prize 2013 – judged by MEL SHERRATT. Stories must be no longer than 2,000 words and you must not have had fiction of any length published before, either self-published or traditionally published. To enter, send your story as a Word document to: mirandawurdy@gmail.com WITH THE SUBJECT HEADING CRIME by midnight (BST) on 31st August 2013.

The New Rose Prize for Literary Fiction 2013 – judged by JAMIE GUINEY. Stories must be no longer than 2,000 words and you must not have had fiction of any length published before, either self-published or traditionally published. To enter, send your story as a Word document to: mirandawurdy@gmail.com WITH THE SUBJECT HEADING LITERARY by midnight (BST) on 31st August 2013.

The New Rose Prize for Romantic Comedy – judged by MIRANDA DICKINSON. Stories must be no longer than 2,000 words and you must not have had fiction of any length published before, either self-published or traditionally published. To enter, send your story as a Word document to: mirandawurdy@gmail.com WITH THE SUBJECT HEADING ROMANTIC COMEDY by midnight (BST) on 31st August 2013.

The New Rose Prize for Young Adult Fiction 2013 – judged by TAMSYN MURRAY. Stories must be no longer than 2,000 words and you must not have had fiction of any length published before, either self-published or traditionally published. To enter, send your story as a Word document to: mirandawurdy@gmail.com WITH THE SUBJECT HEADING YOUNG ADULT by midnight (BST) on 31st August 2013.

The New Rose First Chapter Award 2013 – judged by MIRANDA DICKINSON. Chapters must be no longer than 3,000 words and you must not have had fiction of any length published before, either self-published or traditionally published. To enter, send your story as a Word document to: mirandawurdy@gmail.com WITH THE SUBJECT HEADING FIRST CHAPTER by midnight (BST) on 31st August 2013.

THE PRIZES – each winner will receive a place on my online writers’ course (worth £80), plus a chapter critique from the category judge and free books. I am hoping to add to these prizes soon, so keep watching for details. All winners and two runners-up from each category will see their entries featured on my blog http://www.coffeeandroses.blogspot.com (all rights will be maintained by the authors of the stories).

It is FREE to enter for anyone aged 15 and over, and entry is open worldwide. The New Rose Prize is specifically for unpublished writers. Authors whose works of fiction have been published before, including self-published either singularly or as part of an anthology, given free in any format (including Amazon, GoodReads and iBooks, etc), or traditionally published singularly or as part of an anthology are not eligible to enter. (Please note, if you have had non-fiction or poetry published before you ARE eligible to enter. The no publication rule only applies to works of fiction of any length.) The judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

All entries must be received by MIDNIGHT (BST) on SATURDAY 31ST AUGUST 2013. Please ensure you write the title of the category you wish to enter in the subject line of your email entry.

You can enter as many categories as you like, but please send each as a separate email. Entries with multiple stories attached to one email will not be considered eligible.

GOOD LUCK!

Miranda Writes 9: Enter The New Rose Prize 2013!

All this year I will be documenting the writing, editing and publishing of my fifth novel, giving you a unique, behind-the-scenes look at my life as a writer. This week, I’ll tell you all about my writing competition for unpublished writers, The New Rose Prize 2013 and bring you exciting details of my sparkly online writing course, which is coming soon…

2013 will see the return of The New Rose Prize for unpublished writers! I’m extending the competition this year to include separate prizes for Crime, Literary, Romantic Comedy and YA short stories, plus for the first time I’m adding a First Chapter award for the most impressive first chapter of a novel (open genre). I’m so excited to be bringing this competition back after a cracking opening year in 2011, which was won by Naomi Frisby. There is a stellar line-up of judges and awesome prizes. Submissions will open on WEDNESDAY 8th MAY and close on Saturday 31st August, with the shortlist announced on 6th September and winners announced on 20th September.

My judges are: TAMSYN MURRAY for the YA Prize, MEL SHERRATT for the Crime Prize, JAMIE GUINEY for the Literary Fiction Prize and I’ll be judging both the Romantic Comedy Prize and the First Chapter Award.

The announcement of the official opening for submissions, plus all the entry details for New Rose Prize 2013 will be published HERE at 1PM on WEDNESDAY 8TH MAY – so make sure you check back then!

I’ll tell you more in this week’s vlog below – enjoy!

p.s. This week’s YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, ‘New Summer Hat’…

Miranda Writes 8 – Edits, inspiration and winners

All this year I will be documenting the writing, editing and publishing of my fifth novel, giving you a unique, behind-the-scenes look at my life as a writer. This week, I announce the final two winners of my #getinvolved challenge, talk about edits and answer your questions!

After a completely crazy couple of weeks, the first edit on Book 5 (still awaiting a title) is done and I’ve recovered enough to be almost coherent!

So, without further ado, here is this week’s vlog – hope you like it!

Enjoy! xx

p.s. This week’s YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, ‘Oy! Oo nicked me teef?’)